Yes, it’s true. They’ve gotten me addicted. Five years ago, I was on a plane to St. Petersburg to trek over Russia, Mongolia and China on the Transiberian Railroad. When I was flying, I met a seminarian. I had just moved to NYC a few months before that and complained to him that there was nothing really Catholic about NYC, like there was about Chicago. In Chicago, I was involved in lots of great groups, retreats, Churches, etc.
This seminarian looked at me in shock. He said, there’s tons of stuff in NYC! Haven’t you heard of Catholic Underground and then he mentioned a bunch of other big things that exist. I was so excited. This was the perfect way to start the trip. Seriously, it’s worth your time to read this fantastic NYT article about the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, entitled “Monks Who Play Punk.” And, yes, they do. And, they play it awesomely.
I’ve talked about Catholic Underground here. And, I know I’ve done the Way of the Cross walk with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal before, but this time I had my son and my husband with me. As an added bonus, my parents and my friends were along too.
So on Good Friday, we started out at the St. Joseph Friary in Harlem to walk up to the Bronx. They had refreshments out for those who weren’t fasting all day. I drank a lot of water before we started the walk, so of course, I needed to use the restroom. The two restrooms had long lines, so I was led by one of the brothers to the living quarters. I felt like I got a peek into this private religious life.
It was a beautiful day for a pilgrimage – not too hot or too cold, and a nice sunshine to warm you. As we walked, we often prayed and sang together. The brothers had a neat system where they would pray together using walkie talkies to keep everyone in sync. The brothers took turns carrying a large wooden cross and wearing a crown of thorns, as you can see in the pictures below.
One of the more impressive things was seeing the reactions of people along the way. Many people stopped what they were doing and took pictures and videos (on their iPhones, usually), and some people even joined in on the pilgrimage.
Here are some new pics from an incredibly spiritual Good Friday walk.